Alleged Mar-a-Lago trespasser indicted on 2 charges, no spying
Yujing Zhang, the Chinese national accused of carrying malware on a thumb drive into the Mar-a-Lago resort last month, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday for unlawfully entering a restricted zone and for lying to Secret Service agents.
The indictment on Friday closely adheres to parts of the criminal complaint prosecutors levied against her when she was first detained by the Secret Service and FBI.
Prosecutors in court have suggested Zhang could have been trying to spy, but that is not reflected in the court filing Friday.
The case so far has called into question foreigners’ interest in Mar-a-Lago and the President’s family, and the security at the compound President Donald Trump frequents. Trump was staying at the club, but off the property at the time of the alleged incident.
Zhang, a 32-year-old consultant who owns a valuable home in China and a BMW, is currently in jail and scheduled for a detention hearing Monday in West Palm Beach federal court.
Prosecutors have said they’ll seek for her to stay in jail because she is a serious flight risk.
When asked if she was authorized to be at Mar-a-Lago, a private club owned by the President, she said she was there to attend a “United Nations Friendship Event,” which was not actually scheduled to take place.
Authorities later found a trove of electronics — including a signal detector — and about $8,000 in cash in her hotel room.
Her defense lawyers, who at this time are court appointed, have tried to undermine the Secret Service’s procedures when agents let her onto the Mar-a-Lago property on March 30.
Zhang claimed she paid a Chinese businessman $20,000 to attend the event he promoted, apparently falsely.